Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA), has called on the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, to urgently stop alleged imposition of double taxation being imposed on the operators of Whitesand Trailer Park, in Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Area of the state.
The Executive Director of HURMA, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, made the appeal in a petition to Governor Ambode on behalf of the trailer park operators, saying that governor’s urgent intervention is needed, so as to save the operators from further exploitation from the council chairman, Alhaja Olufunmilayo Muhammed.
The group’s petition captioned: “Alleged Exploitation from Double Taxation and Oppression with Direct Attack by Apapa-Iganmu LCDA ON Ifesowapo Whitesand Sand trailer park owners”, which was also copied to the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and the council chairman, said it is seeking the governor’s intervention on the allegation as all efforts to have the issue resolved amicably have failed at the instance of the council chairman.
The petition partly reads: “We write to intimate you of allegation of exploitation from double taxation on members of the above named park most of whom are members of HURMA, Apapa-Iganmu LCDA unit. Also reported at our central office is alleged regular harassment from hoodlums working for the LCDA, for the purpose of illegal money collection. These among other corrupt practices, we want you to address with your esteemed office, as a matter of urgency.
“Among other facts, some of which are historical, that you may need to guide your investigation are: that Ifesowapo Whitesand Trailer Park is a place owned by some trailer owners who operate legally under Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), who came together on agreement to use their individually acquired land as a parking space and as well repair their faulty vehicles so as to avoid constituting nuisance by the road side.
“That the group pays yearly revenue with receipt up-to-date for the above parking purpose, to LCDA. And that they all pay loading and offloading fee whenever they are out on operation to load at Apapa port.
The petition further reads: ” that they are often confronted with the problem of double taxation from the LCDA’s officials, who at times request that they must also pay for loading and offloading for the park in use, an issue that should not arise in any form because they neither load nor offload at that park.
And that the above issue was once addressed by a former chairman of the LCDA, Hon. Adesola Samuel Adebayo (JIMSAM), who admitted that such issue of loading and offloading fee at the parking space should be considered null and void.
“That same issue was also discussed with the present LCDA chairperson while serving as the Executive Secretary to the LCDA, before the present regime, which she also agreed and put a stop at.
But some hoodlums who recently attacked the park operators claimed attachment to the LCDA and this was confirmed by the head of revenue department of the LCDA popularly called Coach, who spoke at a recent meeting with the park operator, on behalf of the executive chairperson”.
The HURMA’s Executive Director, therefore pleaded with the governor to use his esteemed office to promptly investigate and stop further harassment of the park operators, whom he said are peaceful and would prefer that the issues are better addressed from the position of law rather than resulting to self-help.
The group also states that In its letter to the council chairman that its is believed that double taxation is a financial crime and could be investigated by EFCC and ICPC.
While equally reiterating that ignorance is not and should never be an excuse before the law and the Supremacy of Law is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But all these were neglected.
Comrade Buna also said his group will appreciate if all monies so far ‘exploited’ from the park operators, in the process of their legitimate business, are all returned to them and that such might be passed by the group’s office, “as a proceed of corruption which we have always fought alongside the present federal government”.
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